He said MyWIN Academy would stay true to its two central pillars – “Women” and “Innovation”, as it was an important part of the country’s innovation ecosystem to provide a female perspective on innovation.
“Innovation on its own is gender blind, but as a responsible government we believe in taking a holistic approach. An “inclusive innovation” approach must include all segments of society, so it is important that women are provided with all the support necessary to fulfill their dreams.
“One of MyWIN Academy’s target groups is, naturally enough, entrepreneurs,” he said in his speech when officiating MyWIN Academy in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, here last night.
Also present was Advisor on Women Entrepreneurship and Professionals Development, Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.
MyWIN is a company limited by guarantee established by the Prime Minister’s Department.
It was approved by the Malaysian Cabinet in January 2014 as an avant–garde institution that drives transformative innovation to empower women in leadership and entrepreneurship.
It aims is to unleash innovative power of women through the ‘Educating, Inspiring and Connecting’ approach. MyWIN intends to pull together the strength, wisdom and talent of Malaysian women with the objective of creating a new innovation ecosystem.
Najib said women who underwent training at the academy would have the ability to contribute to the nation, and to go not just regional, but also global.
As part of MyWIN’s efforts, the academy had been organising the ‘Performance. Empowerment. Acceleration. Knowledge’ known as PEAK Programme, aimed at developing women leaders who will go on to become respected figures within their fields / industries.
Najib believed that graduates of PEAK Programme could be an inspiration and role model to all the young girls.
“I am very proud of the 366 women who have benefited from the PEAK Programme. MyWIN has transformed their mindsets, and opened them up to new avenues to success. I recently also received thank you letters from some of them.
“I am told that there were some women who had lost their jobs, or many who left their careers to focus on their families. Through their involvement in PEAK Programme, many of these women have now become successful entrepreneurs and innovators,” Najib said.
He said some had realised their dreams of owning their own businesses, among them is Faridah Halina Zairi, who was once unemployed, but now owns a social enterprise cafe that hires underprivileged youths, as well as others like Ku Hasnur Afiza, who had subsequently gotten funding and support from various government agencies to bring their innovative ideas to life.
“And for those like Madame Puvanesvari Subramaniam who are existing business-owners, they are now able to bring their businesses to the next level, but what is most striking is how all these women who wrote to me credit the PEAK Programme for boosting their confidence and empowering them to make a difference.
“Stories like these are testament to the transformative power of leadership programmes like MyWIN,” he said.
To the graduates of the PEAK Programme, and also the young women under the Women on a Mission programme, Najib hoped they would continue on this journey of excellence, and that they would be able to use all that was learned from MyWIN to contribute back to the community.
On another note, he said Malaysia had made great strides since the government announced the Economic Transformation Programme in 2010.
“Some people underestimate us…and some members of the opposition deliberately distort the Government’s record. But we proved them all wrong when the second quarter growth figure for 2017 came out, it posted at 5.8 percent.
“Others are aware of this too, the latest that we just heard earlier this week is that IKEA – one of the best known furniture retailers in the world, is going to invest RM908 million to set up one of its largest regional distribution and supply chain centres, here in Malaysia,” he said pointing out the ETP outcome.
The confidence that firms like this, and international institutions like the IMF, the World Bank and the international rating agencies have shown in Malaysia, would not be possible without the enormous contribution made by women in Malaysia, he said.
Quoting the Nikkei Asian Review’s “Malaysia has come a long way in women’s socioeconomic advancement”, Najib said it It noted that women constituted two-thirds of the student body in Malaysia’s public universities .
Nikke Asian Review also said that from 2013 to 2016, women’s labour participation exceeded 50 percent, after stubbornly hovering at 45-48 percent since the 1980s.
“Indeed, we brought 700,000 more women into the workforce between 2009 and 2016. But there is still far more to do to reap what should be a huge gender dividend in Malaysia.
“Therefore ,we need to increase women’s participation in the workforce, while also placing great emphasis on building women’s productivity and innovative capability,” he added.
Najid said he was pleased that one of MyWIN’s target groups is professional women, as creating the next generation of women innovators in the corporate sector is very much in line with our continuous efforts to increase the number of women in decision making roles in the corporate sector.
“We have made significant progress on this front, a total of 35.8 per cent of the public sector’s decision making positions are now held by women, while in the corporate sector, I am very proud to say we have reached our target of 30 percent.
“The government is now pushing this agenda even more aggressively because as I have said before: when women succeed, we all succeed. Currently, women account for only 16.8 percent of directors positions in the top 100 listed companies on Bursa Malaysia.
“Not only the government is looking to increase the figure, but as I had announced at Invest Malaysia last month, starting from from 2018, the government will name and shame PLCs with no women on their boards. So you know we mean business!’.
With programmes and initiatives like the ones set up by MyWIN Academy, Najib believed Malaysia would be on track to meet these targets and once it reached the targets, it will not stop as the government will keep pushing in order to meet the targets of putting women decsion making positions, he concluded.
Najib also announced the setting up of MyWIN Academy Advisory to further push women’s empowerment and innovation.
He said he would chair the council while Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing would be the deputy chairman.
The prime minister said the council would help the government’s overall push to increase women in decision-making positions in the public and private sectors.